sat 23/03/2019

Visual Arts Reviews

Mantegna and Bellini, National Gallery review - curated for curators

Florence Hallett

Pitched as “a tale of two artists”, the National Gallery’s big autumn show promises a history woven in shades of friendship and rivalry, marriage and family, privilege and hard graft.

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The Everyday and the Extraordinary, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne review - the ordinary made strange

Sarah Kent

There’s a building site outside the Towner Art Gallery and a cement mixer seems to have strayed over the threshold into the foyer. This specimen (pictured below right) no longer produces cement, though. David Batchelor has transformed it into an absurdist neon sign by outlining it with fluorescent tubes. 

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Oceania, Royal Academy review - magnificent encounters

Katherine Waters

In the video, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner smiles shyly before beginning. As she speaks, her voice gains conviction, momentum, power. Her poem tells of the Marshall Islands inhabitants, a “proud people toasted dark brown”, and a constellation of islands dropped from a giant’s basket to root in the ocean. She describes “papaya golden sunsets”, “skies uncluttered”, and the ocean itself, “terrifying and regal”.

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Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery review - seeing is not always believing

Sarah Kent

There are some wonderful things in Space Shifters, the Hayward Gallery’s autumn exhibition. The selection of work plays with one’s perceptions of space and everything in it.

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Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, V&A review - gaming for all

Alfred Quantrill

Design/Play/Disrupt at the V&A covers a wide variety of games that are spearheading the gaming world at the moment. It takes a closer look at eight of the most innovative and different games that have changed the world of gaming in the last five years.

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Turner Prize 2018, Tate Britain review - a shortlist dominated by political issues

Sarah Kent

I’ve just spent four hours in the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain. The shortlisted artists all show films or videos, which means that you either stay for the duration or make the decision to walk away, which feels disrespectful.

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Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne review - much loved treasures, seen afresh

marina Vaizey

Heir to one of this country's great textile manufacturing firms, Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947) – highly original in his then unfashionable fascination with the art of his own lifetime  – bought some of the best known and best loved paintings now in the public domain.

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I object, British Museum review - censorship, accidental?

Katherine Waters

It’s the nature of satire to reflect what it mocks, so as you’d expect from a British Museum exhibition curated by Ian Hislop, I object is a curiously establishment take on material anti-establishmentarianism from BC something-or-other right up to the present day.

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Renzo Piano, Royal Academy review - worth the effort

Sarah Kent

Architecture is notoriously difficult to present in an accessible way and this survey of Italian architect Renzo Piano, who gave London the Shard, does not solve the problem.

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h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Marina Gerner on Russian art

Marina Gerner

On a recent visit to the Royal Academy, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed man who spent quite some time admiring a square object attached to the wall. I wondered whether to tell him that far from being Russian avant-garde art, which was the theme of the exhibition, it was in fact the temperature and humidity control box.

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